She Wanted More in Life - so she Left Without a Backward Look

Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Female
My girlfriend left me after 2 years: one day when I was at work, she just left a note that said I wasn't the man for her, but she couldn't explain it further without the benefit of perspective. She was leaving town (I and my family think she went to New York; I live in DC).

Our relationship had been tough for the first year, due mostly to us being 8 yrs apart (I'm 30, she's 22 now) and the accompanying issues such as different stages of career, some different viewpoints. I broke up with her twice in 2002 due mostly to fear that she was giving up life oppurtunities for me, and that I was unsure about ready for real commitment. The breakups were especially hard because we had a very strong soul-mate type attachment. We stayed friends through the breakups even though the second one was 4 months long, and extremely difficult for her. I finally got everything sorted out in my head though at the start of 2003, I wanted her forever and I was sure this time, we worked it out, and were back together by April. I was settled in a way I never had been before, and although she was travelling sporadically for various things, we were 100% together and it was working like no relationship I've ever had: totally in love, happy, very little fighting, great sex, and it seemed like I was gaining back her trust (I know I was trying hard).

The only thing I can figure is that she was starting to feel a lot of pressure to start her life, and blamed me for a lack of progress toward it- she is extremely bright and ambitious, and is now done with her undergraduate degree and unsure of the next step, other than she has to get some good work experience in her field to better have a shot at ivy league law school a little later.

We had a fight about 10 days before she left that was incredibly strange: as near as I could tell she was mad at me for holding back her job hunting process or not helping her enough - nothing I could say had any effect other than polarizing us. It seemed like she was just looking for reasons to end it.
Then everything seemed fine for 10 days, then she was gone.

She won't return my calls at all. Her note said she would call me soon to talk about it but it's been over 6 weeks with nothing. I left her a couple of messages at 3 weeks asking her simply to call me, and I sent her an email that told her I loved her and it hurt to be cut off like this, but the rest was basically supportive- I believe in her, support her decision to do whatever it takes for her future, etc. I didn't ask her to call me, just said I hoped she was well.

Why won't she call me? Especially if she knows it's over for good- why not at least send a letter since she knows I'm not over her?

Do we have a chance? This is the first girl I've ever been willing to marry; I feel strongly that what we had was special and would have lasted. Advice
Breaking up is always hard, but it should always be done maturely. If you're mature enough to date someone and have a commitment to them, you're also mature to speak up when you are concerned about something, work actively to address issues and, if everything truly fails, to talk about it to someone's face and tell them the truth.

Instead she held back her upset feelings, lashed out at you instead of working on the issues and when she finally decided she'd had enough she didn't even tell you to your face. She left a note. And to make it EVEN worse she doesn't even bother to let you know she's OK, so that you could worry she's dead in a subway somewhere!

Those are really not signs of someone who is acting maturely. She seems to be acting VERY selfishly. Yes, she's a young woman. Yes, she needs to take a path that helps her be a rounded individual! But that path should NEVER involve tramping on other people because it's "the way my path goes". Heck, you could say that Nazi soldiers were just following their particular life paths when they did atrocities too. But one of the critical things you learn in life is that HOW you lead your life is just as important (if not MORE important) than WHERE you lead your life.

If she wanted to go get a job elsewhere, that's fine! If she wanted to do it without you because she wanted to be "freeeeee" that's fine too! But she owed it to you to TELL you this to your face, even though it's hard. That's part of being mature enough to date - it's being mature enough to END the dating situation in a reasonable manner. Dropping a note and then sneaking off is NOT good. She took an action. She should have the responsibility to stand by her action. Instead she wanted to avoid all pain to HER and just let YOU take all the pain. Bad, bad, bad.

In any case, there's not much you can do. You don't even know where she is. And even if you found her, you can't make her grow up. She has to grow up on her own. Who knows, maybe after a few months she'll realize what she did was pretty slimy and come back and apologize. But this girl really isn't ready to marry, if she's acting this way with someone she is DATING. She needs quite a bit more maturity in her. Hopefully she'll get it along the way before she is hurt by her attitude.

-- from Jenn
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